When you walk through the door for your first interview with a company, your mind is racing:
Am I prepared for their questions?
Am I qualified for this job?
Do I have spinach in my teeth?
These questions are normal, of course. But there’s one more you need to ask that is just as important: how will I know if this is a good place to work?
Fortunately, the answer to this question does not need to be a mystery. Find out what current and former employees say on Glassdoor. Then, when you head into the interview, look for these signs of an amazing workplace:
1. People are polite to each other
Whether the vibe is energetic or chill, loud or quiet, an amazing workplace will always feature coworkers that treat each other with respect. As you interact with team members throughout the interview process, keep an eye on how they interact with each other when they don’t know you’re looking.
2. The workplace is tidy
Creativity takes many forms, but the one form it shouldn’t take is dirty. Whether you’re looking at a newly designed open workspace or a well-worn valley of cubicles, an amazing workplace will be clean, well-maintained, and free of strange smells.
3. Coworkers disagree effectively
No job is 100% free from disagreement; that’s just not how work gets done. However, there’s an art to disagreeing effectively. Look for signs of skilled communication like coworkers who listen to each other and communicate with respect even when they don’t agree with each other.
4. Leadership shows up
Leaders have a powerful influence over company culture and the direction of an organization. If you interview for a job and never meet anyone outside of HR – not your direct manager, team lead, or CEO – ask to chat with them. If they are regularly out of the office, it could be a sign of disconnection or disorganization to come.
5. People know what to do
Chaos is stressful, especially when influences 8-10 hours of your day. Even if you’re interviewing for a position on a brand spanking new start-up where there’s understandably less order, look for signs that people have direction and know what to do when they’re at work. There may not be written processes or formal procedures, but you want to avoid a workplace where people look confused, bored, or stressed out about what they’re supposed to be doing.
6. There’s space for different kinds of work
You’ll need to perform different functions at work: working alone, working as a group, and taking a break. Look around the workplace to make sure there’s space for these different activities, such as taking a break from an open concept office or slipping out of the corner office to connect in a conference room.
7. Humor is encouraged
You don’t want to feel like every coworker is an amateur stand-up comedian (that would get really old really fast), but you do want to see signs of camaraderie, enjoyment, and good-natured humor. Pay attention to how many employees feel comfortable making jokes and laughing off technical glitches. If no one’s smiling, you may not be smiling af you accept the job offer.
8. Sarcasm is discouraged
Sarcasm makes for good TV, but it makes for toxic co-workers. Be wary of any interviewer or passing co-worker who’s humor runs too dark, knocks down the job you’re applying for, or in general makes you wonder if they like their job.
9. You see a few flaws
No workplace is perfect. If you see absolutely no flaws, there’s a strong possibility you’re clinging to your rose-colored glasses because you want the job so badly. Try to find a few not-so-perfect things about the workplace so you can accurately weigh the pros and cons of all of your offers.
Make the most of every interview opportunity: head into your meeting prepared to answer questions, ask your own, and scan the building for these signs of an amazing workplace.